From Internalization to Collaboration: An Exploratory Study on Startup Alliances Within the Danish Financial Sector

Ulrik Noringriis & Andreas Laurits Goldschmidt

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis presents how startup alliances in the Danish financial sector indicate a shift from the internalization tendency, found within the increasing consolidation that has defined the sector, towards collaboration. Through a multiple case study research strategy, five startup alliances are examined. Each alliance consists of one fintech startup and one large established financial institution. By combining the knowledge-based view in the form of Grant and Baden-Fuller’s (2004) ‘knowledge accessing theory’ with the startup alliance literature, a theoretical framework is developed. Using the defining variables of expectations, challenges and response strategies, this theoretical framework divides startup alliances into acquiring alliances (i.e. internalization) or accessing alliances (i.e. collaboration). It is concluded that both alliance partners within each of the examined startup alliances access each other’s knowledge and capabilities rather than acquiring them. Thereby, embracing collaboration with others, instead of retaining the innovation process strictly within one's own organizational boundaries by internalizing the knowledge and capabilities of alliance partners. This master thesis also discusses the diversity of these accessing alliances and how incumbents can employ models that span a spectrum from platform to co-development. Lastly, a recurrent theme throughout this master thesis is the organization Copenhagen Fintech and it is discussed what impact such an organization can have on the sector and whether it has influenced the shift from internalization to collaboration

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages138